Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Santa Fe 2009

About a month ago I took my daughter and mother to Santa Fe and it was a blast! Santa Fe is such a beautiful city with so much history, culture, beautiful landscapes and of course, shopping.

We arrived around lunch time and headed to the Plaza. This is the place that is full of all the expensive quaint shops and there is an area where the Indians sit on blankets and sell their work. While I was expecting more Indians with more variety I was happy to walk away with some nice gifts even though similar items were being sold for a few bucks less just a few Indians down.

After burning a good amount of calories shopping, we stopped to eat at The Shed. This is a restaurant that has many good reviews so we were not surprised that there was a wait and it gave us an opportunity to take advantage of the perfect weather and enjoy some Margaritas on the patio. Thirty minutes later, tummies growling and Margaritas going straight to our heads, we were happy when our little pager buzzed informing us that it was chow time.

After sitting and waiting to be served for at least 10 minutes, we had to flag down a waitress to inquire when we could order our food. Such a question should not be asked in a restaurant! That was the attitude we endured during the course of our meal. The service was horrible. For what they lacked in service, the food did not get any better. Taking as many Chili powders to cover up the bad pork is not my idea of a meal. Oh, and Chipotle called, they want the recipe for what they call Pozolé back.

Our second day we drove to Albuquerque to explore more shopping opportunities. The plan was to have breakfast at a place we read about in our tourist book. After driving for about 30 minutes trying to find it, I spotted a dive and swung into the parking lot causing skeptical glances between my mother and daughter. They were afraid, very afraid. If a restaurant is anything short of a franchise or tourist fly trap they are not game. Since I was driving, they had no choice. This was the best place we had eaten all through our entire trip. The service was above and beyond excellent. I always say, if it’s a dish that I can’t make without a lot of effort, then it was well worth the money. A heavenly, culinary experience!


We spent the day enjoying the eclectic selection of goods at the flea market and the inspiring works from local artists at the Art Show. We left Albuquerque inspired and satisfied.

After a long day frolicking in the Albuquerque sun, what better way to relax at the end of the day than going to 10,000 Waves Spa nestled in the Santa Fe Mountians. The theme for this spa is Japanese bath house. When you arrive your senses are immediately stimulated. The sight of beautiful lanterns leading the way to the bath house. The smell of pine and citrus when you walk in. The taste of fresh cucumbers and oranges in ice cold water. There was a wait before we could enter the bath, but it didn’t mean we were less pampered.

Once it was our turn to enter the bath they instructed us to shower first. The showers are supplied with 10,000 Waves line of products that are absolutely delectable. After the shower you put on a plush robe and flip flops and make your way to your bath and sauna. Since this spa is clothing optional, we chose the women’s only bath. Figured if it’s not camping, we didn’t need the wieners. The nice thing about it is they only allowed about 8 women in at a time so it was not too many boobs and butts crowding the bath. Advice ladies, when you are talking about feet at a nude spa, it’s not a good idea to show other ladies your toe while showing us how flexible you are when you are in the nude. This maneuver provides too much information about you.

The last day, I took mom back down to the plaza so she could get some of her last minute shopping in. We also stopped by Trader Joes, which I totally LOVE and I picked up 16 bottles of wine, 13 being the infamous 2 Buck Chuck.

All in all it was a great trip. I came back rested and inspired. I’ve already completed one Santa Fe inspired project. And even though some people say I smell like camping, I love the spa lotion I got and I wear it everyday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The first lesson I learned when doing any kind of vehicle maintenance was the necessity of Beer. Mind you, I’ve never really done any kind of vehicle maintenance so I was a bit skeptical about pouring myself a tall cold one before working on a machine with a lot of moving parts I had no knowledge of. I also never turn down a beer.

Beer poured.

In anticipation of the possibility that we may do a gunshot trip to Sturgis for the weekend we quickly gathered up the oil, filter and tools needed to change the oil in my bike since it was really long over due. I opened my big bike manual to the section on how to change the oil.

1.Level the bike – plywood – Check.
2.Remove dipstick thingy – Check
3.Find oil plug on underside of crankcase? – oook, Check
4.Don’t forget to put oil pan under before removing – check
5.Carefully unscrew plug and remove without letting it oil all over you – ooook
6.Let Drain
7.Refill beer.
8.Remove Oil Filter
9.Find right tool to remove oil filter since tool in hand does not seem to fit.
10.Stare at filter and tools and wonder WTF?
11.Shrug off the need to change the filter, promise to change when I get back from Sturgis.
12.Learning from observing others change their oil, feel proud to remember to put oil plug back on securely before the next step.
13.Carefully begin to pour the oil in the crankcase? struggling with a very awkward position due to airbox cover.
14.Remove airbox cover to make oil pouring much easier.
15.Panic when fuel and oil spill out when airbox cover is removed.
16.Stare at the mess and wonder WTF?
17.Smell my hands and wonder how guys can stomach this on a daily basis.
18.Realize Sturgis is not going to happen.
19.Refill Beer a couple more times understanding why this was the first and most valuable lesson.

We ended up getting everything fixed up the following day and going out for a great evening ride. Before the weekend was over we put in a good 160 miles through the mountains and in town. It was disappointing that Sturgis didn’t happen but at least we had beer.